How to Watch the 2019 NBA Playoffs Online for Free

Brad Tuttle
Money

The 2019 NBA playoffs are still grinding away, with the conference finals tipping off this week.

The Western Conference Finals Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors series starts Tuesday, and the Eastern Conference Finals Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks series begins on Wednesday.

Here’s the full 2019 NBA playoff schedule, or at least what we know about it for the time being. The Trail Blazers and Raptors won their round two series in game 7 matchups on Sunday, May 12 — with the Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard hitting a buzzer beater that won the game and series against the Philadelphia 76ers. And there are more weeks of NBA drama on the court ahead.

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Here’s everything you need to know to watch the 2019 NBA playoffs — online or on TV, for free.

What Channel Are the NBA Playoffs on?

The NBA playoff games are being shown on a variety of channels — including TNT, ESPN, and ABC, plus regional cable sports channels with broadcast rights to the local pro basketball teams.

It can be confusing, because no single channel is broadcasting the entirety of any series. So we’ve listed the 2019 NBA playoff schedule for the near future below. In addition to the national channels broadcasting the NBA playoffs, your local team’s playoff games may be airing on a regional sports channel in your area that’s probably included with basic cable or satellite TV packages and live-streaming TV bundles.

Tuesday, May 14
• Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN

Wednesday, May 15
• Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Thursday, May 16
• Portland Trail Blazers vs. Golden State Warriors, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN

Friday, May 17
• Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Saturday, May 18
• Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN

Sunday, May 19
• Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors, 7 p.m. ET on TNT

Monday, May 20
• Golden State Warriors vs. Portland Trail Blazers, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN

Tuesday, May 21
• Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors, 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Thursday, May 23
• Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Saturday, May 25
• Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors, 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT

How to Watch the NBA Playoffs for Free

If you have a satellite or cable TV subscription, it probably comes with most or all of the channels broadcasting NBA playoff games. Simply tune in to the corresponding channel to watch the Bucks vs. Celtics, Warriors vs. Rockets, or any other matchups you want.

If you don’t have cable and want to watch the 2019 NBA playoffs, it’s a little more complicated but still possible in several different ways — online and on TV.

Let’s start with the NBA playoff games you can easily watch for free without cable, because they are being broadcast on ABC — like the entirety of the 2019 NBA Finals, which will start after the conference finals winners are determined. You can buy a decent digital TV antenna for $25 to $40, and once it’s connected to your TV it will provide unlimited free broadcasts of free, over-the-air networks like ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS.

An HDTV antenna works similarly to an old-fashioned “rabbit ears” antenna, only the broadcasts come through in hi-def and you often get to tune in far more channels for free. The channels you can watch for free with a digital antenna may vary, though, based on where you live, the strength of your antenna, and where the antenna is positioned in your home. But people in most of the country should be able to watch all the major broadcast networks for free with a digital antenna — and that includes many games in the 2019 NBA playoffs on ABC.

How to Live Stream NBA Playoff Games for Free

If you’re hoping to watch the NBA playoffs for free when they are airing on ESPN, TNT, or another pay channel, consider signing up for a free trial of live-streaming TV service that includes these channels in its bundle.

Here are the live-streaming TV options that will let you watch the NBA playoffs online for free, at least for a week or so, by way of free trials lasting five to seven days:

DirecTV Now: From $50 per month for 60+ channels, including TNT and ESPN (but not NBA TV)

Fubo TV: From $40 per month for around 75 channels, including TNT and NBA TV (but not ESPN)

Hulu Live: From $45 per month for 50+ channels, including ESPN and TNT (but not NBA TV)

PlayStation Vue: From $50 per month for 50+ channels, including ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV

Sling TV From $15 per month for over 30 channels, including ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV

YouTube TV: From $50 per month for 60+ channels, including ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV

In addition to the channels highlighted above, many of these services include regional sports channels in their live-streaming TV packages. You can plug in your zip code at each service’s site to see the exact list of channels available with streaming packages in your area.

All of these live-streaming TV packages come with free trials, thereby allowing you to watch the NBA playoffs online for free for about a week — or longer, if you sign up for a free trial with more than one service. Just remember that you will be charged in full for the first month if you do not cancel before the free trial ends.

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